The case of a police officer in the Eastern Cape facing a charge of statutory rape has been postponed till September 9 for a bail hearing.

The policeman appeared in the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court on a charge of raping an eight-year girl.

He was arrested last month.

The policeman, who has 26 years experience, has denied the charges.

It is alleged that the accused has been indulging in indecent acts with the child since August last year.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is opposing the bail application.

IPID Executive Director, Jenifer Ntlaseng, says the accused, because of his seniority in the police ranks, could also influence witnesses.

“I suspect [he] has friends in the police station, they are already threatening the mother and interrogating her about this. Already this thing [has] put [her] in an uneasy position. We have realized that one way or the other the suspect is going to interfere with the complainants. Already he is exposed to them and will also use his friends to put pressure on the family,” adds Ntlaseng.

Meanwhile, in August, the Mthatha Regional Court sentenced a police warrant officer to 18 months imprisonment for raping a female awaiting trial detainee.

The trial of Mhlobo Mpela had lengthy delays because the accused changed his defence attorney, coupled with the deaths of the presiding magistrate and the prosecutor in the case.

Below is an infographic on Gender-Based Violence: